Woolrich has some serious roots. The company was launched in 1830—yes, that’s an 18, not 19—to supply fabric to the wives of frontiersman in what is now western Pennsylvania, and it has continued to make long-lasting, beautiful woolen products in the same location since then. Indeed, its facilities are located on the exact spot of the 1845 mill that powered operations, and yes, the town of Woolrich that surrounds it is named after the company, not the other way around.
The brand surged during the 1970s backpacking/camping/Whole Earth Catalog boom, then stumbled in the 1980s, when other heritage brands cheesed out and crowded the market. But it rebounded in the early 00s, and the last few years have brought a major upswing, as new, young outdoor folks have mined long-lasting establishments in search of authenticity and, perhaps, a counterweight to the ephemeral digital life.
No product could be more symbolic of this than the Woolrich Pacific Crest Trail Blanket. Woolrich has collaborated with lots of cool kids on special edition products, from West America to Almond Surfboards. But its Partners With a Purpose program does more than just generate buzz, it brings cold hard cash (or perhaps warm, loving cash) to trail groups from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. In this case, obviously, it’s for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, which receives all proceeds from sales of the blanket.
The blanket is made in America—in the aforementioned town of, yep, Woolrich—and measures 40 inches by 60 inches, which is just the right dimension to line the back of a sport wagon, a small SUV, or a shady spot under some lodgepole pines, hopefully within a pine needle or two of the 2,650-mile trail. Despite the explosion in PCT interest thanks to Wild, both movie and book, advocacy groups like the PCTA always need a hand, and this blanket is great way to help.
- Nat Geo Expeditions